Hi everyone, I hope you had another great week! We’re back again this week for another episode of “How Not to Call the Plumber”. This week, we’re going to talk about a very common issue found both in your toilets at home, as well as those nasty urinals in a more commercial setting (a plumber’s worst enemy!).
Many customers, both residential and commercial, complain of very weak flushes from their toilets and urinals. While there are a few potential causes, very commonly it’s caused by a buildup of what is called “Uratic Salts”. It’s quite easy to tell if this is what is at least partially causing your slow flush issues, just by looking. If standing over the toilet, there will be a beige discolouration in what is called the “siphon jet” of the toilet. The siphon jet is the small hole in the toilet bowl, on the opposite side of the larger hole that the waste goes down.
Uratic Salts are mineral deposits derived from uric acid, found in your urine. If you subscribe to the “If it’s yellow, let it mellow” mantra, you will be much more susceptible to this issue! The only real way to avoid this, is to make sure you flush the toilet each time. Even then, I have seen buildups in some cases.
Now for the fix:
This isn’t the prettiest thing to try to fix, but very easy if you’re brave enough. First, you need to get your (hopefully gloved) hands into the toilet bowl and use some sort of sharp tool to break up as much of that Uratic Salt as you can. Break it up, flush, break it up, flush, etc. etc.. Often times, this will help drastically by itself. The second step is to use a highly corrosive chemical, specialized for taking care of this issue. It is corrosive enough that I’m not sure they will sell it directly to homeowners! If you are able to purchase it, make sure you are very careful to not let it touch your skin, eyes, etc. It is strong enough that it managed to once turn my nice work pants into swiss cheese after inadvertently splashing some on myself. So be careful!
After taking these two simple steps, your toilet will often magically flush like new again. You will erase months or years of frustration, and probably avoid what you thought was the need for a new toilet!